The Road to the Patriarch by R.A Salvatore

“Those who rely on certainties are certain to be disappointed.”

2/5 stars.
ebook, 267 pages.
Read from May 15, 2019 to May 21, 2019.

This is the final instalment in the Sellsword’s Trilogy that follows the two “bad guys”, Jaraxle and Artemis. Jaraxle’s plan starts to become clear as the two of them make some very ambitious decisions and dare to challenge a king as well as two ancient dragons. Jarlaxle’s ambitions and outrageous schemes are always almost enough to get them killed, almost.

I wish I were into the premise of this story more but it just didn’t do it for me, as was most of this trilogy, unfortunately. The series lacked the character work that I loved so much with the Drizzt series. Both Jarlaxle and Artemis are at constant battle with themselves in terms of their partnership, or rather, friendship. Their experience tells them that they shouldn’t be friends yet this also seems to be a challenge for them despite the two of them being generally cold-hearted. Artemis becomes especially vulnerable in this book as well which is puzzling for the reader as his tough exterior seems to break. He starts to question the meaning and purpose of his life as well as his relationships with other people. What will this new cracked exterior mean for the assassin? Of course, all is revealed in the end… Spoilers ahead.

Jarlaxle’s motives don’t seem as clearly defined in this book, or at least they’re not as robust as Artemis’ and for that, Artemis has the more interesting narrative of the two. I do appreciate that at least Jarlaxle is still mostly true to his conniving and manipulative ways, even to those closest to him but then I found myself disappointed in Artemis for not being able to catch on to what Jarlaxle was doing. I appreciate that Artemis’ newfound vulnerability in this book was not necessarily of his own doing and I know that will eventually make him a very dynamic character but he just didn’t seem as badass in this book.

Salvatore could have had a whole offshoot of stories with Jarlaxle and Artemis but it felt as if he wasn’t as heavily involved or invested in the stories as much as he has been with Drizzt and his companions. Considering their shallow development within this trilogy, perhaps it’s best that they remain secondary characters for the time being. I know that they appear later within Drizzt’s storyline (Neverwinter Series) and it does help to know their stories from this trilogy going into those books, so I hope that they continue to present themselves within the Drizzt storyline.

 

Promise of the Witch King by R.A. Salvatore

This book has a lot of battles and fighting, which if you’re a big fan of reading Salvatore’s battle scenes, is a major plus.

2/5 stars.
Hardcover, 244 pages.
Read from May 9, 2019 to May 15, 2019.

This is the second book in The Sellswords’ Trilogy featuring the adventures of Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle as they search for artefacts from the notorious and terrible Witch-King Zhengyi, seemingly under the request of their alluring dragon patrons. New characters are introduced and new partnerships (friendships?) are made within a new and dark landscape. All the while the pair work to meet their own gains, usually from one of Jarlaxle’s elaborate schemes, that he doesn’t fully reveal to Artemis until the end.

I am heavily disappointed in this trilogy so far. The characters of Artemis and Jarlaxle seem much more developed and intriguing within the stories of Drizzt than in this trilogy of their own adventures. Jarlaxle and Artemis are the supposed bad guys and their characters are meant to be a refreshing change from the goodness of Drizzt. Somehow the adventures of these two should have lent itself to a more enticing story but instead, it’s falling flat. The formula for this book is that same as the first book in the trilogy, in which the two of them partake in some crazy scheme that Jarlaxle has come up with, that puts them, and others in great peril, for their own gains. Well, mostly Jarlaxle’s actually. Artemis starts to explore his own motives within this most book, making for the most interesting part of the story that’s isn’t touched on enough. Despite all that, it’s obvious that Artemis and Jarlaxle have a friendship or at least an amicable partnership, that they’re reluctant to part from and have some sense of messed up loyalty to each other that works with their morals and life choices.

This book has a lot of battles and fighting, which if you’re a big fan of reading Salvatore’s battle scenes, is a major plus. However, if you’ve fallen in love with Salvatore’s books for his character work, this book, or trilogy may not be for you. I will continue with the last book in this trilogy and hope that the final instalment turns the trilogy around for me.

Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore

“Even the short-lived humans divide their lives into segments, though they rarely recognize the transient truth as they move through one or another stage of their existence.”

4/5 stars.
Hardcover, 345 pages.
Read from June 4, 2018 to June 8, 2018.

Yup, 20 books into this gigantic series now.  It is actually really nice to have a reliable series of books to fall on that you know will be an easy and comforting read but will also offer a margin of excitement. This book seems to have revived some new life into the series and I haven’t enjoyed a Drizzt book like this in a long time.

Drizzt and Bruenor have been through a lot together as friends. So many doors have closed in their old lives but Bruneor wants one last adventure. The adventure will help Bruenor with the grief he is unable to shake and Drizzt to begin to finally process his and what the future will mean for him. The two set off to find the legendary dwarven hall of Gauntlgrym, which is reminiscent of the time they set off to find Mithral Hall, however, the lack of their regular companions weighs heavy on both of them. In their search for the mysterious hall, they encounter a looming catastrophe that if not dealt with will envelop and destroy the area of Neverwinter completely. During their adventures, they run into Jarlaxle and Athrogate who have found themselves deeply caught up in the disaster looming below Neverwinter. While Drizzt has never considered Jarlaxle a friend he isn’t an enemy either. Drizzt feels a renewed energy in having a connection to his old life around and he begins to have a better understanding of the moral compass that drives Jarlaxle as he begins to question his own.

This storyline of this book is dark and has some unexpected twists and finalizing deaths which, as a fan is hard to come to terms with. Drizzt’s character dynamics take a stark turn in this book and I imagine it will only continue to unfold. I also have my suspicions about a villain character called Barrbarus the Grey as he sounds too reminiscent of a character that had a prominent role in previous Drizzt books. I have not figured out how it would be possible considering how much time has passed but I am eager to read the next book to find out.

A lot of fans did not seem to be happy with this book but I think it is because Salvatore intentionally took Drizzt’s story in a new direction to keep his story fresh. I personally think that this book was a success and I am interested to see how this new storyline progresses. Overall, it has made me excited about devouring the next few books in this series and already have them checked out from the library.